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Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII) as Prince of Wales

10 of 437 portraits of Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII)

© National Portrait Gallery, London

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Prince Edward, Duke of Windsor (King Edward VIII) as Prince of Wales

by Frank Salisbury
oil on board, 1917
25 in. x 19 7/8 in. (635 mm x 505 mm) overall
Purchased, 2015
Primary Collection
NPG 7006

On display in Room 25 on Floor 2 at the National Portrait Gallery

Sitterback to top

Artistback to top

This portraitback to top

During the First World War Edward’s request to serve was refused owing to the potential dangers. Despite being a non-combatant, he spent most of the war visiting troops. This oil sketch was painted in France on the Western Front in September 1917. It is recorded and illustrated in volume V of Salisbury’s collected archive as no.2. The artist later recorded the sitting: ‘... the Prince of Wales was going to sit for me around three o’clock. I was introduced to the commander, Lord Cavan, who suggested that I should use as a studio the hut that had been a temporary hospital, but was now disused. I got my things together and the prince told me he was ready. He sat very well and was very quiet, smoking with a cigarette, pipe, or cigar the whole time. We were quite near the fighting line and the guns were going incessantly ... When the King and Queen saw the portrait they liked it very much and the Queen said she would give it to the King as a Christmas present.’ Prince Edward features in uniform alongside his father in Salisbury’s painting George V at Mount Kemmel, South of Ypres, during his tour of the Western Front, 1917, originally commissioned for the Royal Exchange (most recently sold at Lyon & Turnbull, Edinburgh in 2011, current location unknown). It is possible that this oil sketch was a study for this painting.

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  • Cannadine, Sir David (Introduction); Cooper, Tarnya; Stewart, Louise; MacGibbon, Rab; Cox, Paul; Peltz, Lucy; Moorhouse, Paul; Broadley, Rosie; Jascot-Gill, Sabina, Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, 2018 (accompanying the exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery from The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas, USA, 7 October 2018 -3 February 2019. Bendigo Art Gallery, Australia, 16 March - 14 July 2019.), p. 174

Placesback to top

  • Place made: France (disused hospital, Corps Headquarters, Western Front, France)

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Events of 1917back to top

Current affairs

King George V changes his name from 'Saxe-Coburg' to 'Windsor.' Amid wartime anti-German public sentiment the British Royal Family decided to relinquish their German name and titles. The name 'Windsor' was chosen as variation on ''Wettin', the late Prince Albert's personal surname.

Art and science

The National Photographic Record is established at the instigation of the photographer Walter Stoneman to commission photographs of 'distinguished living contemporaries of British nationality.' This project allowed the National Portrait Gallery to circumvent its own rule that portraits could not enter the collection until the sitter had been dead ten years.


The Russian Revolution begins with the February Revolution and the abdication of Tsar Nicholas II. Seven months later the Bolsheviks led by Vladimir Lenin seize power in the October Revolution forming the Soviet Communist Government, which lasted until 1991. The USA abandons its neutrality and joins the war against Germany following a series of attacks on American passenger and merchant ships.

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